BRUNSWICK — Mayoral candidate Gary Werner said he is filing a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against incumbent Dale Strasser for a claim in campaign literature that Werner was trying to “buy” residents’ votes.
Werner said the complaint was mailed Wednesday and should be formally filed today.
He said the offending message was found in a letter Strasser mailed to voters that said, “Don’t let my opponent buy your vote!” It included an absentee ballot application.
“It’s an accusation of breaking the law; it certainly got my attention,” Werner said Wednesday. “It was way over the line.”
Werner serves on City Council and was appointed to his at-large seat last year.
He said he found out about the letter from a supporter.
In a letter to Strasser that was forwarded to area newspapers, Werner told him to retract certain comments made in the letter and said he would dismiss the complaint if Strasser did so by Friday.
“I have zero tolerance for reckless attacks on my integrity or on the truth,” the letter says. “This campaign will be won or lost fairly, Dale.”
Included in the letter was a pre-written retraction statement that Strasser could sign. Along with the “buying votes” assertion, Werner said Strasser falsely claimed he proposed an income tax issue that nearly 80 percent of voters rejected in 2007.
Strasser said Wednesday he stands 100 percent behind his statements and “welcomes the challenge.”
“He can send it wherever he wants,” Strasser said about the complaint. “It is nothing more than a gimmick.”
Strasser said Werner’s claim he will take no salary as mayor is “buying votes” since Brunswick residents have to pay his city salary.
“He never mentioned about giving money back on the four years he has served on Council,” said Strasser, who claims much of his own city pay goes back to the community.
The position of mayor pays $13,095 annually.
Werner said he would not take any salary if elected mayor, and it is perfectly legal to do so.
Contact Allison Wood at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.